The Birthday Massacre @ Highline Ballroom (4/27/2009)

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The Birthday Massacre
Venue: Highline Ballroom (New York, NY)
Opener: I Am Ghost, Dommin
Date: 4/27/2009
Label: Metropolis Records

It seemed like only yesterday that I was in this very same room for some live music and in truth and it was actually just this past Friday two days previous to tonight when The Cinema Bizarre took to the stage at The Highline Ballroom. That show was interesting in and of itself and one of those gigs that was not really my speed for the most part. Tonight’s menu was clearly different for the musical palate and something that would be a little more up my alley for you see this was the return of The Birthday Massacre and their opening acts of I Am Ghost and Dommin and this show crossed a wide spectrum of melody that surely had a little something for everyone. Dommin was up first and I had been hearing some good things about him.

Dommin: The band is a new signing to Roadrunner Records and having no advance music to clue me in on their style and sound beforehand I would be checking them out blind tonight. Sadly I would get into the venue after they had already started as the show seemed to start a little earlier than I would have expected it to, but on the upside I was able to ascertain a good deal about them. The group is best viewed as a Melancholy Gothic Rock type of outfit and they are fronted and led by Christopher Dommin whose voice is loaded with passion and heartache. For a lead off band tonight I had to say that they seemed to have the audience in their command as the room of attendees stood rooted to their spots as songs like “My Heart Your Hands” and “People Are People” were delivered with intensity and mood. They would only deliver about seven tunes tonight and if this is what we will find on their forthcoming album there will be a good response to it. My guess is that if you like bands like Type-O-Negative and maybe even some of the older The 69 Eyes stuff that leaned to this vibe then you will enjoy what Dommin brings to the table. I Am Ghost was up next.

dommin, dommin concert photos
Dommin by Ken Pierce (2009)

I Am Ghost: Another new one for me would be I Am Ghost who originally hails from Long Beach, California. The band is a definite treat for the fans of the Metalcore genre but those fans should also know that a lot of Post-Hardcore going on in their sound. They hit the stage with a lot more energy than Dommin but that was purely based on the difference of musical styles between the two of them. It was more frenetic and active and was hitting you hard with note after note while lead singer Steve Juliano ran amuck on the floor. For another band that I had never seen before I had to admit that they were keeping my interest and they clearly had a lot of fans in the room tonight as well for there was some great response to what they were doing. They are currently signed to Epitaph Records with their most recent album being entitled “Those We Leave Behind”. Their set list tonight would feature five numbers from this release and showcase the apparent new “much heavier” side of the band that they have been moving to. This was also rather dark stuff and research found me discovering that the band was moving in this direction after splitting with two of their former members. I would see them again and so far the night was two for two in terms of enjoyment. Now it was time for The Birthday Massacre to come out and do their thing and by now the club was packed. That’s always something nice to observe.

i am ghost, i am ghost concert photos
I Am Ghost by Ken Pierce (2009)

The Birthday Massacre: Now it was time for a little bit of that Gothic Synth Pop stuff with those Toronto natives The Birthday Massacre who had recently toured with Mindless Self-Indulgence. I have never seen them before so was rather excited about tonight’s gig since a number of my friends were in the club and talking up the band very much. They are signed to Metropolis Records and were still supporting their 2007 release of “Walking With Strangers” and their 2008 EP “Looking Glass”. They are set to release a live album in the beginning of May 2009 and I am sure that much of what we would enjoy this evening would be found on the disc when it comes out.

the birthday massacre, the birthday massacre concert photos
The Birthday Massacre by Ken Pierce (2009)

The band hit the stage with a lot of energy and they were all animated players when it came down to it. They are fronted by Chibi, who is the only female in the group and their lead vocalist. She doesn’t play any instruments but when she is not singing the tunes she is either dancing or getting right into the mix with the audience in front of her. Next to her I had to say that lead guitarist Rainbow was probably the most watched person in the group as he sports a lot of creative makeup which works very well with his facial expressions and stage moves. He was mugging for everyone from the beginning of the show to the very last note. The rest of the band is comprised of Michael Falcore (guitar), Rhim (drums), O-en (keyboards) and O.E. (bass). I had to give them credit for the amount of energy that was being put out this evening by everyone who was playing. The only one who was relatively stationary was their drummer and as the set progressed we even found their keys player climbing on top of his small rig and towering over the heads of the audience below him. It was very precarious and not something I advise any other keyboardists out there try on their own systems. Musically I had to say that the band was winning me over with their style as this is not something I normally get myself into, but the rousing combination of melody and visual was really doing the trick for me on this Monday night. I had mentioned that the club was jammed to the doors and that’s great to find so early in the week. I had to use the audience as my guide to what tracks were the most popular and it was rather difficult since the response for each of the tunes as they came by were being met with great approval. I did know one tune in particular and that was the Tommy James cover of “I Think We’re Alone Now”. Most people know this song as the one which was popularized by Tiffany, the Pop singer who was all over MTV back in the day. The bands super energetic set would close with their two encores of “Blue” and “Happy Birthday” and when they finally left the stage there was a collective sigh of sadness from the fans who has realized that the fun had come to an end.

the birthday massacre, the birthday massacre concert photos
The Birthday Massacre by Ken Pierce (2009)

Closing up I had to say that this was a really fun night and one that I would repeat in an instant without question. The band mingled about with the remaining members of the audience for a few minutes after the show had ended and posed for photos with them and even signed their CD’s or other memorabilia that they had brought along with them. I think I shall be looking into those recent releases sometime soon and look forward to seeing The Birthday Massacre when they come to town again.

Full Dommin Photo Gallery:
Full I Am Ghost Photo Gallery:
Full The Birthday Massacre Photo Gallery:

Dommin Set List
1. My Heart, Your Hands
2. New
3. Tonight
4. Dark Holiday
5. People Are People
6. One Feeling
7. Without End

I Am Ghost Set List
1. Bone Garden
2. Our Friend Lazarus Sleeps
3. Don’t Wake Up
4. Burn The Bodies To The Ground
5. Killer Likes Candy
6. Smile Of A Jesus Freak
7. We Are Always Searching
8. Those We Left Behind
9. Dark Carnival Of The Immaculate
10. Pretty People Never Lie, Vampires Never Really Lie

TBM Set List
1. Red Stars
2. Goodnight
3. Falling Down
4. Unfamiliar
5. Play Dead
6. Weekend
7. Shiver
8. To Die For
9. Lovers End
10. Remember Me
11. Video Kid
12. Violet
13. Looking Glass
14. I Think We’re Alone Now
15. Walking With Strangers
16. Blue – encore
17. Happy Birthday – encore

Since tonight would be our first time catching what Dommin was all about as well, we made sure to let them know who and what was all about.  Here is a photo of 3/4’s of the band and their merchandise dude at the hall tables where fans could come and say hello and pick up their EP.

3/4’s Dommin + 1

Pictured from left to right we find Cameron Morris (drums), Kristofer Dommin (vox/guitar), Konstantine (keyboards) and their merch dude.  I am not sure where bassist Billy James was at the point of this shot, but I could not stand around for him as I had other bands to focus on immediately after.

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